Friday, September 19, 2014

Tips and Tricks for Writing Long Term Sub Plans

I only have a week and few days before my big due date and my baby could literally decide to come at any moment. I'm happy to say that I'm 99.9% (can a teacher ever really be 100%!?) ready for my maternity substitute to take over for me whenever baby gets here.

This is my second time completing maternity sub plans, and although I won't claim to be an expert, I have learned a thing or two about writing sub plans.


Here are my tips and tricks for getting ready for a long term sub:


1.  Start early
It will probably take longer than you think to get everything ready. Between typing up plans, organizing materials, making copies, and the 100 other little things you'll need to do, it helps if you get a head start on things.

2.  Make a Sub Binder
I wanted to have all my lesson plans and every thing in one place so my substitute doesn't have to search for anything around my classroom. I tried to streamline it all into pages in the binder so my sub doesn't have to switch from planner to lesson plans to important information. Everything is in order (and in page protectors and divider tabs) in the binder.

3. Type It All Up
You never know when you'll need another long term sub again, so just to be safe, it's ideal if you can type everything up so you always have a back up copy. My sub binder will be good to use for the rest of the school year (obviously the lesson plans will change), but lots of the important things like my classroom procedures and and important school information will stay the same. 

4. What to Include in a Sub Binder:
This will probably vary by grade/school/subject, but here are some important things to include in a long term sub binder:

- Important school information: 
emergency information
important school policies
school calendar

-Classroom information:
basic student expectations
list of important class procedures
behavior management plan
classroom routines
attention signals
bathroom policies
seating charts

-Schedules
master school schedules
week at glance schedule
daily schedule

-Lesson Plans
lesson plan outlines
teacher directions
special instructions
master copies
answer keys/rubrics (if needed)

5. Extras
Think about what else you class will need. Is there anything that will be helpful for your substitute or students while you are gone?

For me, I put together a PowerPoint with tutorials for a few of the lessons/activities that I have planned. This way my sub can put the instructions on the board and my students will be able to clearly understand what they're supposed to do.  



It's definitely not an easy job.
 It takes A LOT of work and time. 
It will give you a headache & make you want to cry.
But…
It will all be worth it in the end!


(Stay tuned for an official birth announcement!)



Do you have any advice to share?
I'd love to hear what else you've learned about sub plans.
Leave a comment so we can all see some more helpful tips!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Intro to Greater Than and Less Than

At the beginning of the year, I introduce our friends Greater Than Gus and Less Than Lilly.  I do not introduce the signs yet (<, >).  My kiddos love when I teach them a poem or story and especially when it relates to math. I really like to integrate literacy into math!











To practice greater than and less than, I used these HUGE dominos that I got on Zulily.  They don't have them on their site right now, but I'm crossing my fingers they come back!

Domino GREATER Game:
 I pick a domino and another student picks a domino.  We both count our dominos and we determine who is greater.  If I am greater, I keep the domino.  If my partner is greater, they keep it.  If I keep my domino, I get to put it on the floor standing up.  When all of the dominos are gone, we both get to knock down our domino lines (is that what they are called). 


Domino LESS THAN Game:
 I pick a domino and another student picks a domino.  We both count our dominos and we determine who has fewer  If I am less, I keep the domino.  If my partner is less, they keep it.  If I keep my domino, I get to put it on the floor standing up.  When all of the dominos are gone, we both get to knock down our domino lines (is that what they are called). 



We finish up with a little informal assessment:






Clipart/Fonts:


Sunday, September 7, 2014

What is Working in My Classroom? Find it Here!

Well, I made it through about 2 1/2 weeks of school and things are going SO well. I'm proud of those kiddos. My 1st graders are working hard to learn the expectations and routines. I just wanted to share some things that are working fabulously!


I'm loving these Personal Clip Charts and so are my students!  Plus, they only had zebra striped clothespins at Hobby Lobby so I just *HAD* to get them for my students. ;)


You can check out the WHOLE she-bang {here}!



My student store their behavior punch cards in their pencil box.  If they are on green or purple at the end of the day, they get a hole punch on their card.  Once it's filled up, they get a prize!
{The green facial scrubber is used as a whiteboard eraser and can be found at the Dollar Tree}


Their personal clip charts are kept to the side of their pencil boxes in their desk. They are not allowed to touch them unless I ask them to clip up or down. It's been GREAT so far!



This one is an oldie but a goodie!  In our class we have a VIP each week (much like a Star Student). They get to take home the VIP bag that has Andy (our dog mascot), interactive writing book about Andy, the Me Sack, and an About Me poster. 


Here's what our schedule looks like:




Also, if you would like the labels for the Me Sack, you can download those {here} and the rest of the pack separately {here}.




I've also sent home my students' Take-Home Reading Folders so they can practice, practice, practice. That will make their teacher happy, happy, happy!


ALL that you need to get started on sending books home is available in my Take-Home Reading Folders {Made Easy} Pack!


Friday, September 5, 2014

Computer Name Projects {For the Beginning of the Year}

Sometimes I don't really think that the school projects that I do are "Blog Worthy," or I worry that my photo quality isn't good enough, or that my ideas are too simple. Last year I let a lot of my computer projects go by without ever blogging about them. I finally realized recently that I need to get over the "perfect" blog post and just blog. So that's what I'm doing today. 


As many of you know, I switched from 5th grade to teaching the computer specialty class at my school. I have all the students in my school (K-6) rotate to me throughout the year. 

For my first project of the year I did a fun project that is a little autobiography project that I've been calling "Name Art" or "Name Projects."  


I do the same project for grades 1st-6th, but I make sure to differentiate it by grade level. As you can see from my examples in the photos they all turn out different and I love to see the student's personality shine through.

Here's a little bit about how I run this project:

1st and 2nd grade are very step by step. I model on my computer and projector how to open the presentation, where to click, how to type their names. We go over caps lock, delete, spacebar, period, and the enter/return key. On the second day, I show them how to highlight their names (it takes a lot of modeling!), increase their font size, and choose a decorative font. By day 3 and 4 students have their sentences typed and are ready to print. I'm always amazed how much these little students can do in a week!

3rd and 4th grade is just a little more advanced than that. They are usually pretty familiar with all the keys on the keyboard and we can work more on the formatting of the projects.

For 5th and 6th grade I usually just model the basics of the projects and tell them to be creative. (I always make sure to tell them that their page has to be full before they print.) I tell them to explore the options and see what they can come up with. They usually find the shape tools and experiment with clip art, fonts, and colors.
{Please tell me you noticed this funny sentence from my 6th grade example: "Never underestimate the awesome power of me!!!" I love the things these students come up with! It's such a 6th grader thing to say.}

This is such a simple project, but one that turns out very nice in the end. The projects look awesome hanging up in the hall and it's a fun way for me to get to know students and start forming personal connections. Plus, these are such important skills students need to have these days!

Even if you are not a computer teacher, I definitely think this is a project you should try with your students! All you really need is a computer lab and a printer. 


Please leave a comment and share 
your thoughts about this project.
Would this be something you could try in your class?
How would you adapt this for your students?


Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently - September

Was it just me or was August the shortest month ever?! I feel like July was just yesterday and now it's already September 1st. Today I am linking up with Oh Boy 4th Grade's for her September Currently Linky Party. This is a fun way to get to know some of your favorite bloggers on a more personal level. (It's also a fun way to get to know new bloggers too!)


Natalie's Currently:



Listening: First, I should say that I've always been a big Taylor Swift fan. My kids can even sing some of her songs just from listening to her CD's while we drive in the car. I do love her new song and love the fun message about not letting people get you down. 

Loving: Ahh! I love 3 day weekends where my husband gets an extra day off! My husband and I work different shifts and don't get to see each other much during the school week. We live for weekends and extra little holidays where we can be together!

Thinking: I'm going to have a baby THIS month! My due date is Sept 30, but both of my kids have come early, so I'm fairly certain this will be baby month! I can't wait to meet this little guy. Newborns are my favorite and I just can't wait to hold, squeeze, and love on this sweet baby!

Wanting: So… when my husband and I were first married we bought a cute little condo. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths; it was perfect for a newlywed couple. Well, now we are about to have 3 kids and we are still sort of stuck in this condo for the current time. Due to the economy crashing, we're still waiting for prices to come up enough so that we can sell. We do plan on selling soon, but are just not quite there yet. I am wishing, and hoping, and dreaming that we can be in a house soon! 

Needing: I'm sad to admit that our baby nursery is not completely ready yet. We have painted the walls, have a crib set up, and have most of the necessary stuff for a baby, but I am still trying to piece together bedding, rugs, decor, etc. Don't worry, I think I still have a few weeks to finish it up. :)

3 Trips: 3 places I've never been that I am dying to go would be: 

1) Italy - I've been to England, Scotland, The Netherlands, and Germany, but the one place that I am dying to go to is Italy. Mostly for the food and romance, but also to see the art and beautiful buildings. 

2) Puerto Rico - I love palm trees, beaches, and anywhere that has crystal blue water! My husband lived in Puerto Rico (and part of the British Virgin Islands) for 2 years while he served a mission for the LDS church. He loved it there and can't wait to go back to visit. We've always wanted to take a trip there together and are hoping to plan a trip there within the next 2 years!

3) New York City - I have never been to New York! Can you believe it? I've been to DC, Baltimore, Boston, and Williamsburg, but never to New York. I did theatre in high school and love broadway, but for whatever reason I have never made it to the Big Apple. My husband was born in upstate NY and his family all still lives there; we just haven't been able to make the trip yet. Hopefully a trip to NYC will be in our near future!


Thanks for reading along! Visit Oh Boy 4th Grade and join the linky fun!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Technology Tip

I wanted to let you know that I'm sharing a pretty awesome "Technology Tip" over on Blog Hoppin' today. I'd love for you to "hop" on over and take a look. :)


Here's a little sneak peek for you:



Come to Blog Hoppin', leave me comment, and say hello. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the tip I shared!

Blog Hoppin

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Vegas Part 2 {TPT Conference & Other Fun}

Is it okay to post about something that happened over a month and half ago?! I sure hope so because I just realized that we never finished blogging about our Vegas trip. 

For those of you who went to Vegas; consider this a trip down memory lane. If you didn't get to go to Vegas, you might already be sick of seeing/hearing about Vegas… in that case, I apologize. :)


This picture was taken shortly after I {Natalie} got off my plane. I was greeted by some of the cutest teacher bloggers I know: Kelley, Rachelle, (Me), Amanda, Erica, Stephanie, Deedee, Cheryl, Tanya, Katie, and Hope! First thing we did: headed to lunch at the yummy Grand Luxe Cafe. 


That night was the amazing Teacher Blogger Meet Up. You can read more about that here!


The next day, while all our friends were presenting or in conferences, a few of us (Erica, Hope, Michelle, Me, and Amy) headed to Ceasar's Palace for some lunch at Planet Hollywood. 


After lunch, we quickly made our way back to our hotel for a special surprise. A few of us wanted to surprise Rachelle with a "What Would Rachelle Do?" (#wwrd) workout tank. It was in honor of her weight loss journey and the fact that she has inspired so many people to be healthier and make better food choices! I think she was pretty surprised and it's safe to say she loved it!
P.S. Thanks to Deedee for organizing and ordering the tanks! (If you would like your own Rachelle inspired "Teachers and Barbells" tank, you can order from Ruffles with Love's online shop! (Can you spot Deanna Jump, Kim Adsit, and Cara Carroll in the picture above?


Of course we had to go back to our hotel room for a little photo shoot! ;)


That night we (Holly, Amy, Hope, Michelle, Lindsey, Amanda, Elizabeth, Erica, and I) ate at the famous Serendipity's! (Yes, I tried the frozen hot chocolate, and yes, it was pretty amazing!) 


The next morning was the AMAZING TeachersPayTeachers first ever conference!!! 
The whole day was fabulous! It was so fun meeting new friends, putting faces with other teacher bloggers, learning more about the business side of TPT, and sharing the love we all have of TeachersPayTeachers.com


I think the highlight of the whole trip, for Rachelle, was meeting the infamous Paul Edelman, founder of TeachersPayTeachers! His keynote address that morning was inspirational and very powerful. We are very grateful to this man for his *little* idea of creating an online place for teachers to share their ideas and resources online while being able to earn some extra income for their families. He is such a humble and down-to-earth guy and it was an honor to meet him in person!


Here are just a few pictures from the Happy Hour that took place after the conference. Rachelle had a fun time mingling with everyone, while I got to be the special photographer for an upcoming TPT project. While I am sad I missed out on some of the Happy Hour activities and getting to know new people, I had a fun time meeting the people who came to get their photos taken! (Did I ever mention that I was 27 weeks pregnant at the conference? Take a look at my belly in the picture in the bottom right.)


The next two pictures are too good not to post on the blog! 

We were trying to get a group shot against the white backdrop and professional lights. I snapped this photo just trying to test the lighting and it could not be any more perfect! The expressions in this picture are absolutely priceless!


And here is the final shot! I sure love each of these girls so much!


This picture turned out to be the best picture of the whole trip! What could be better than a bunch of teacher bloggers laying in a circle WITH the founder of TPT?!

The last picture I have to share is this cute one of all our roommates! (Technically only 6 of us stayed in the same room, but we were all together the whole time anyways.)


Amazing friends + fun meet ups + good food + inspiring conferences… it's the recipe for an incredible vacation!! 
I am honestly already excited about our Vegas trip next year! 


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